It was a momentous evening as Lauren Balcomb (AUS) notched her first international grand prix victory in Saturday night’s $140,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix CSI3* during the inaugural week of international competition at the World Equestrian Center – Ocala. A diverse field of 31 horse-and-rider combinations representing 12 nations tried to tackle the imposing track set by world-renowned course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) for the 2022 Ocala Summer Series Week III feature class on June 25. Five pairs found the clear path to advance to the jump-off, where it was Balcomb aboard her own 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding Verdini D’Houtveld Z who could not be caught, stopping the clock in 37.15 seconds for the win.
“I bought ‘Verdini’ as a six-year-old to be a three-day horse. I evented him for a little bit, then decided that was not the route to go down. I met Sharn [Wordley] and that’s when I started to compete in show jumping,” explained Balcomb. “I have been knocking on the door recently, so to win right in my backyard is so special. All of my friends were here to support me and now I can’t wipe the smile off my face.”
Hunter Holloway (USA) piloted Hays Invesment Corp’s Pepita con Spita to second place in the class with a time of 37.64 seconds. Third place was awarded to Aaron Vale (USA) and Thinkslikeahorse’s Condarco after the pair stopped the timers at 38.87 seconds.
$140,000 Lugano Diamonds Grand Prix Results:
1. Verdini D'Houtveld Z, Lauren Balcomb (AUS), Lauren Balcomb: 0 | 0 | 37.15
2. Pepita con Spita, Hunter Holloway (USA), Hays Investment Corp: 0 | 0 | 37.64
3. Condarco, Aaron Vale (USA), Thinkslikeahorse: 0 | 0 | 38.87
4. Ennebel van het Posthuijs, Peter Petschenig (AUT), Brooke Peterson: 0 | 0 | 38.89
5. Valdes Z, Evan M. Coluccio (USA), Hampton Green Farm LLC: 0 | 4 | 38.99
6. Prescott, Aaron Vale (USA), Thinkslikeahorse: 0 | 4 | 39.06
7. Nabal de Trivera, Alberto Michan (ISR), Alberto Michan: 2 | 80.48
8. Chatinus, Richard Spooner (USA), Richard Spooner: 3 | 81.21
9. Sligo Balou Boy, Luis Larrazabal (VEN), Luis Larrazabal: 4 | 75.61
10. Comtess 202, Santiago Lambre (BRA), Santiago Lambre: 4 | 76.35